Northwest Oregon / Southwest Washington Canada Goose Agricultural Depredation Control - Pacific Flyway Management Plan

Page created by Pauline Ramsey
Pacific Flyway Management Plan

Northwest Oregon / Southwest Washington Canada
                  Goose Agricultural Depredation
Northwest Oregon / Southwest Washington
 Canada Goose Agricultural Depredation
              Control Plan
               MARCH, 1998




                                     Prepared for the:

                      Pacific Flyway Council
                  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
      U.S. Department of Agriculture - APHIS, Wildlife Services

                                             by the

                Pacific Flyway Study Committee
                            and the
       Canada Goose Agricultural Depredation Working Group

Approved by: ____________________________ ________

                       Chairman, Pacific Flyway Council                              Date

Suggested Citation: Pacific Flyway Council. 1998. Pacific Flyway management plan for Northwest
Oregon - Southwest Washington Canada goose agricultural depredation control. Canada goose
agricultural depredation working group, Pacific Flyway Study Comm. [c/o USFWS], Portland, OR 97232-
4181. Unpubl. Rept. 31pp. + appendices.

Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    .   .   .   .   . .   .   .     i
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    ii
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    1
       Problem Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    2
       Area Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    2
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    2
       Canada Goose Taxonomy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    2
       Canada Goose History in WV-LCR . . . . . . . . . . .          .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    2
       Wintering Population Objective for the WV-LCR Region          .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    7
Population Assessment and Monitoring . . . . . . . . . . . . .       .   .   .   .   . .   .   .    8
Land Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        .   .   .   .   . .   .       10
       Habitat Management and Public Use on Public Lands .           .   .   .   .   10
       Habitat Management on Private Lands . . . . . . . . .         .   .   .   .   . .   .       18
       Land Acquisition and Management . . . . . . . . . . .         .   .   .   .   . .   .       19
Depredation Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      .   .   .   .   . .   .       20
       Depredation Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      .   .   .   .   . .   .       20
       USDA-APHIS, Wildlife Services Activities . . . . . . . .      .   .   .   .   . .   .       21
       Depredation Permits and Orders . . . . . . . . . . . .        .   .   .   .   . .   .       23
Harvest Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       .   .   .   .   . .   .       24
       History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   .   .   .   .   . .   .       24
       Harvest Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        .   .   .   .   . .   .       25
Public Outreach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    .   .   .   .   . .   .       28
Funding and Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       .   .   .   .   . .   .       28
Literature Cited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   .   .   .   .   . .   .       29

Appendix A: Management Agencies and Farm Bureaus

Appendix B: Existing Pacific Flyway Management Plans

Appendix C: Summary of Wintering and Breeding Ground Surveys, Banding
            and Collaring Programs in the WV-LCR

Appendix D: Canada Goose Forage Acreage Totals for
            Wildlife Areas and Refuges in the WV-LCR

Appendix E: Pacific Flyway Council Depredation Policy

At the recommendation of the Pacific Flyway Council (PFC) (March 16, 1997,
Recommendation No. 18), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Oregon
Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
(WDFW), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services (WS) and the
Oregon and Washington Farm Bureaus have participated in the development of a
comprehensive nine-point plan to address the agricultural depredation problems
associated with Canada geese in the Willamette Valley - Lower Columbia River
(WV-LCR). This document was available for public comment and responses are
available upon request from the Pacific Flyway Representative, 911 NE 11th Avenue,
Portland, Oregon, 97232. Many of the proposed strategies contained in this document
are, at present, unfunded by any agency or organization. Addressing many of the
proposed strategies will require additional resources or reprogramming existing
resources away from other high priority issues. Participation in the development of the
plan should not be interpreted as endorsement of all options by the participating
agencies or organizations.

Primary Goal:

The primary goal for this plan is to establish a systematic and
comprehensive approach for minimizing depredation losses caused
by Canada geese in the WV-LCR.
The following primary objectives will be utilized to implement the plan. None of these
objectives are intended to meet this goal alone, but, rather were established to work in
concert and to provide a range of options to solve the problem. The primary objectives
of the plan are:

1.    Wintering Canada Goose Population Objective: Stabilize and eventually
      reduce the number of Canada geese wintering in the WV-LCR to minimize
      agricultural depredations on private lands. The objective is to limit the number of
      Canada geese wintering in the WV-LCR to no more than 133,000, the current
      population index (as measured by the midwinter inventory), and reduce the
      number of wintering Canada geese in the WV-LCR to 107,000 (20%, as
      measured by the same index) by the year 2002. Such reductions are to occur
      consistent with existing Flyway management goals for specific Canada goose
      populations recognized in the Pacific Flyway and the broad public interests
      throughout their range. The reductions will be achieved either through direct
      population reductions or redistribution of geese to other areas.

2.    Population Assessment and Monitoring Objective: Develop and employ
      monitoring techniques to accurately assess goose populations, distribution and

survival rates of Canada geese on breeding and wintering grounds. The
     objectives are to develop and implement survey techniques to better assess the
     population status of all the Canada goose populations affiliated with the WV-LCR.
     This will involve improvements in both breeding ground and wintering area
     survey programs for these Canada goose populations. The use of mark-resight
     surveys to determine population size, distribution and survival of Canada geese
     wintering in WV-LCR will continue to be vital to the assessment of the
     management programs.

3.   Habitat Management and Public Use Objective: Increase the amount of
     Canada goose use on public lands, while subsequently decreasing the amount of
     Canada goose use on private lands. The approach will be to review habitat
     management programs on Federal refuges and State wildlife areas to assure that
     everything possible is being done to provide abundant, high quality goose forage
     on public lands. Additionally, management agencies will implement public use
     restrictions on public lands to decrease harassment of wintering Canada geese
     and increase their use of these lands. Finally, management agencies will
     recognize private landowners for their role in providing Canada goose foraging
     areas on selected private lands and consider developing voluntary agreement,
     conservation easement, or coordinated hunting programs to address adverse
     agricultural impacts.

4.   Land Acquisition and Management Objective: Decrease agricultural
     depredation of private lands by acquiring additional Canada goose habitats in the
     WV-LCR through fee title acquisition, donation, trade or easement. The
     approach will be to form a land acquisition working group consisting of personnel
     from USFWS, ODFW, WDFW and private conservation organizations to develop
     and implement a Canada goose habitat acquisition program. This group will be
     integrated with other existing agency efforts to maintain and enhance wildlife
     habitat throughout the WV-LCR region.

5.   Depredation Research Objective: Objectively determine the severity and extent
     of winter goose grazing on private agricultural lands. The approach will be to
     conduct damage assessment studies of goose grazing impacts on grass seed,
     grain, vegetable crop and pasture lands in the WV-LCR to objectively determine
     the extent, amount and economic cost of damage from geese.

6.   USDA-APHIS Activity Objective: Increase the capability of WS agents to assist
     private landowners in the WV-LCR to alleviate agricultural depredations caused
     by Canada geese. The approach will emphasize development of a WS hazing
     program designed to effectively monitor and address agricultural depredation
     complaints throughout the WV-LCR and to redistribute geese from areas where
     agricultural damage is occurring. Additionally, an evaluation will be conducted to
     determine the potential effectiveness of using depredation permits and/or orders

consistent with Pacific Flyway policy to further reduce agricultural depredation by
     Canada geese in the WV-LCR. The relative and combined effectiveness of
     nonlethal and lethal control to address crop damage problems in the region will
     be reviewed during all stages of implementation. Lethal control methods would
     only be used on a limited basis and would be consistent with the existing Pacific
     Flyway policy on depredation control (Appendix E).

7.   Harvest Management Objective: Increase Canada goose hunting opportunities
     in accordance with harvest guidelines in Pacific Flyway population management
     plans. The approach is to first utilize hunting opportunity during established open
     seasons to reduce agricultural depredation of Canada geese in the WV-LCR by
     increasing harvests to limit overall populations consistent with Flyway population
     management goals and to redistribute geese from areas where agricultural
     damage is occurring.

8.   Public Outreach Objective: Increase public awareness of both the benefits and
     problems associated with Canada geese throughout the Pacific Flyway. The
     approach will be to develop a public outreach program to increase the awareness
     and understanding of Canada geese and agricultural depredation problems in the
     WV-LCR and the need for balance in addressing these problems in ways that
     maintain the benefits of geese to a larger number of consumptive and
     noncomsumptive users throughout their range. The intent is to increase
     awareness among all affected interests, particularly Oregon and Washington
     landowners and Alaskan native subsistence hunters, concerning the needs of all
     user groups, with a primary focus on achieving population management
     objectives for all Canada geese wintering in the WV-LCR.

9.   Funding and Implementation Objective: Reduce agricultural depredations in
     the WV-LCR by increasing funding for Canada goose management activities and
     implementing all facets of the depredation plan. The approach will be to gain
     public acceptance of both the problem and the need for government action to
     address the problem in a constructive fashion such that the public at large will
     support increased expenditures for goose management.

INTRODUCTION                                             address the goose depredation issue in NW
                                                         Oregon and SW Washington. As part of this
Goose management in NW Oregon and SW                     effort, federal and state wildlife managers and
Washington is one of the most complex wildlife           Farm Bureau representatives from Oregon and
issues in North America. Seven subspecies of             Washington formed a collective group to provide
Canada geese are found in the region during the          guidance and input to this plan (see Appendix A
fall and winter. Nowhere else in the United              for description of management agencies and
States are so many different subspecies of               farm bureaus). The participation of the various
Canada geese mixed together on wintering                 agencies and organizations should not be
grounds. These geese are an important natural            interpreted as complete endorsement of all the
resource to many diverse constituencies                  specific details contained in the plan. This plan
throughout the coastal States and Provinces of           focuses on issues surrounding agricultural, not
the Pacific Flyway. These geese are also the             urban depredation and nuisance problems
cause of increasing problems, primarily                  associated with geese.
agricultural depredations, in this major wintering
region of the Pacific Flyway. Management                 The primary purpose of this plan is to reduce
agencies are striving to achieve a balance               agricultural depredation in the WV-LCR while
between maintaining healthy, natural                     maintaining population objectives for Canada
populations of all subspecies of migratory               geese in the Flyway. The PFC recommended
Canada geese without adversely impacting                 seven specific topics to be addressed in the NW
other human uses, particularly agricultural              Oregon/SW Washington depredation control
interests. Unfortunately, the population status of       plan. These topics were: (1) depredation
some subspecies is below Pacific Flyway                  research needs, (2) optimal Wildlife Services
objective levels (i.e. Aleutian, dusky, and              (WS) - formerly Animal Damage Control -
cackling Canada geese) while other populations           staffing levels, (3) habitat management on public
are healthy and growing. The differing status of         lands, (4) acquisition and management of
the populations results in a complex                     additional habitat, (5) hunting season structure,
management problem that is the subject of this           (6) use of kill permits and (7) funding
management plan.                                         mechanisms. In addition to addressing the
                                                         topics recommended by the PFC, the working
As the total number of Canada geese wintering            group recommended that a total wintering
in the Willamette Valley-Lower Columbia River            Canada goose population and public outreach
(WV-LCR) region of NW Oregon and SW                      program objectives be included. Under each of
Washington has increased, so have agricultural           these main topics, goals, objectives and
depredation complaints. Federal and state                strategies have been developed.
agencies have worked with landowners to
address depredation concerns. However, the               After completion of a public review period and
scope and severity of landowner complaints has           PFC adoption, implementation of this 5 year
greatly increased in recent years. A coordinated         plan will begin. However, strategies identified
resource management plan dealing with                    during development that can be addressed
agricultural depredation problems in the region          sooner will be implemented as opportunities
was cooperatively written by a team of private           arise and when there is consensus that such
landowners and state/federal agency personnel            strategies are desirable. This plan is intended to
in 1990. Two additional landowner groups also            complement existing Pacific Flyway
worked during 1994 and 1995 to develop                   Management Plans (Appendix B) and
additional recommendations to address                    agreements that guide the cooperative
agricultural depredation issues.                         management programs for the seven
                                                         subspecies of Canada geese throughout the
This plan was developed at the request of the            Pacific Flyway. No part of this plan is intended
Pacific Flyway Council (PFC) (March 16, 1997,            to alter any aspect of these existing
recommendation no. 18). The PFC requested                management plans and agreements. The
that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)          responsible management agencies will work to
help coordinate the development of a plan to             resolve any conflicts between objectives

contained in the referenced Flyway                       Canada Goose Taxonomy
Management plans in a timely manner.
                                                         The Pacific Flyway continues to recognize the
PROBLEM STATEMENT:                                       subspecific classification of Canada geese as
                                                         described by Delacour (1954). This classification
The total goose population in the WV-LCR has             recognizes seven distinct subspecies of Canada
increased to the point where damage caused by            geese within the Pacific Flyway: cackling
geese has adversely affected a large group of            (Branta canadensis minima), Aleutian (B.c.
land owners who have suffered substantial                leucopareia), Taverner's (B.c. taverneri), lesser
agricultural losses. Concurrently, certain               (B.c. parvipes), dusky (B.c. occidentalis),
subspecies of Canada geese present in the                Vancouver (B.c. fulva), and western (B.c.
area, including the cackling and the dusky               moffitti). All of these subspecies are known to
Canada goose, are below desirable population             occur in the WV-LCR. Identification of
levels. Contributing to the complexity is the fact       subspecies is based on a series of
that while cacklers are below population                 measurements of geese from specific breeding
objectives they are the most abundant                    areas throughout the Pacific Flyway (Johnson et
subspecies in the area. The challenge is to              al. 1979). Additional information from ongoing
reduce depredation losses caused by geese in             genetics studies, band recovery data, and
the WV-LCR while maintaining the various                 morphological characteristics obtained from
goose populations at Flyway objective levels.            breeding birds (including breast color obtained
                                                         from the Copper River Delta, Alaska) are being
AREA DESCRIPTION                                         incorporated into these determinations as
                                                         information becomes available.
This plan will be implemented in the WV-LCR
area of NW Oregon and SW Washington (Fig.                The recognition of subspecies in Canada geese
1).                                                      is not consistent among authorities and several
                                                         alternative classifications have been proposed.
Willamette Valley:                                       Palmer (1976) recognizes only eight subspecies
                                                         across North America and combined the dusky
Oregon - All of Clackamas, Washington,                   and Vancouver subspecies of Delacour (1954).
Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Linn, Benton and Lane             Sibley and Monroe (1990) do not recognize the
counties.                                                dusky as a separate subspecies, either.
                                                         However, Delacour (1951), Johnsgard (1975)
Lower Columbia River:                                    and Johnson et al. (1979) all recognize twelve,
                                                         including one extinct subspecies and it is this
Oregon - All of Clatsop, Columbia and                    classification that is most widely employed by
Multnomah counties.                                      North American waterfowl managers.

Washington - All of Clark (except the area south         Canada Goose History in the WV-LCR
of the Washougal River), Cowlitz, Wahkiakum
and Pacific counties.                                    Before the 1960's, the wintering Canada goose
                                                         population of WV-LCR averaged fewer than
BACKGROUND                                               25,000 geese and most of these were the dusky
                                                         Canada goose subspecies. Sport harvest of the
The following information provides background            dusky was relatively high and was concentrated
and history on issues related to Canada goose            on a few privately owned areas in the
management and agricultural depredation. This            mid-Willamette Valley (Timm et al. 1979).
information is provided to increase public               During the 1950's, the need for refuges to
awareness regarding the complexity of the                protect the dusky was recognized and beginning
goose management problem and reduce                      in 1964, the first of three federal refuges was
conjecture surrounding the status of subspecies.         developed to provide wintering habitat for the
                                                         dusky Canada goose. By the end of 1965, a
                                                         10,609 acre, three refuge complex was created


              Legend                                               Wahkiakum

               City                                                                 Cowlitz

               Federal Refuge                       Clatsop
               State Wildlife Area                                                    Clark

                                                                 Yamhill                      Clackamas

                                                          Polk             Salem





Figure 1. County map of the Willamette Valley - Lower Columbia River Region.

in the mid-Willamette Valley. In addition, the                                                       adjacent to the CRD to the west, and eastward
5,149 acre Ridgefield refuge in SW Washington                                                        along the Gulf of Alaska, but they are widely
was created in 1965, to provide wintering habitat                                                    dispersed and not numerous. The extent to
for the dusky. To attest to the effectiveness of                                                     which these geese migrate south and may
the refuges, from 1963 to 1969, the post hunting                                                     confound winter inventories of dusky geese is
season population of the dusky increased                                                             unknown and warrants study of their taxonomic
substantially from approximately 14,000 birds to                                                     identities and winter distribution.
over 23,000 (Timm et al. 1979). This occurred
despite a daily bag limit of three geese (except                                                     Before 1964, the low elevation of the CRD and
1967 and 1968) and seasons that extended as                                                          periodic flooding during high tides maintained
late as January 12.                                                                                  broad expanses of sedge meadow dissected by
                                                                                                     a reticulated pattern of drainage channels and
The dusky population, however, began declining                                                       sloughs. A mixed forb/low shrub community
about 1979, with an accelerated drop in the                                                          was found only on slightly elevated slough
mid-1980's (Fig. 2). The decline is attributed to                                                    banks (Trainer 1959). Brackish conditions
several earthquake-related ecological changes                                                        significantly influenced productivity of waters
on Alaska breeding grounds nesting habitat,                                                          and controlled the composition of plant
combined with excessive harvest on the                                                               communities. Early surveys (Trainer 1959)
wintering grounds. The duskys behavior                                                               showed that dusky geese selected mixed
appears to make it more vulnerable to sport                                                          forb/low shrub nest sites and that flooding was
harvest (Simpson and Jarvis 1979).                                                                   the primary cause of relatively infrequent nest
                                                                                                     losses. Nest predation by gulls was slight and
                                                                                                     mammalian predators were considered rare on
                                    DUSKY CANADA GOOSE                                               the outer delta. Overall, nest success was high.
                                     POPULATION TRENDS
                                                                                                     In March, 1964, the "Good Friday" earthquake
                            25                                                                       uplifted the CRD by 1.9 meters. This change
 Average Population Index

                            20                                                                       drastically altered the frequency of flooding,
                                                                                                     reducing the extent of tidal inundation and

                            15                                                                       promoted drying of slough banks and meadows
                            10                                                                       (Reimnitz 1972). The drier conditions and lack
                                                                                                     of suppression by saltwater have allowed the
                                                                                                     invasion and growth of shrubs such as alder and
                            0                                                                        willow. Between 1974 and 1984, shrub cover
                                 61-65           71-75           81-85           91-95               has increased nine-fold on the coastal delta
                                         66-70           76-80           86-90           96-97       (Campbell 1990).

Figure 2. Dusky Canada goose 5 year population                                                       The effects of habitat changes on dusky Canada
trends, 1961 - 1997.                                                                                 goose production are not fully known. Nesting
                                                                                                     geese have apparently adjusted to changes in
Hansen (1962) described the breeding range of                                                        vegetation physiognomy and composition, and
the dusky Canada goose as extending from the                                                         are using the drier, shrubby habitats extensively
Bering Glacier to the Cook Inlet, a distance of                                                      (Bromley 1976, Campbell 1990). The
about 275 air miles with the population reaching                                                     secondary effects of habitat change may be
its greatest abundance on the Copper River                                                           more significant. The species composition of
Delta (CRD), near Cordova, Alaska. More                                                              predators on the delta has changed (Campbell
recent studies classify Cook Inlet geese as                                                          and Griese 1987) and nest predation has
lessers and more narrowly delineate duskys to                                                        sharply increased. Avian predators still destroy
the CRD. However, the taxonomic identity of                                                          nests, however, predation by coyotes (Canis
some groups of geese breeding near the CRD                                                           latrans) and brown bears (Ursus arctos) has
is still in doubt. There are small, unsurveyed                                                       become prevalent. In part, this is attributed to
groups of large, dark Canada geese breeding in                                                       the increase in tall shrub habitats that are
the forested habitats of Prince William Sound,                                                       preferred by the large mammalian predators.

During the 1980's, predation by brown bears               between 1985-90 (Fig. 3). Also known as the
and coyotes was significant as shrub habitats             Great Basin Canada goose, this is the only
became more extensive. Since then, a wide                 goose that nests in Oregon and Washington and
variety of avian predators, including bald eagles,        can be found breeding throughout both states
ravens, and gull species have joined the suite of         (Krohn and Bizeau 1980). Over the long term,
predators taking eggs, goslings and adult birds.          westerns have been increasing in Oregon and
Concurrent to the change in predator species'             Washington. The wintering population is made
numbers and diversity, nest predation increased           up of both resident and migrant birds. Estimated
from less than 6% in 1959 (Trainer 1959) to an            annual survival rates for westerns in the
average of over 55% during the 1980's and an              WV-LCR is 64% (ODFW unpubl. data 1995).
average of over 60% in the 1990's.                        Population change is a function of both survival
Consequently, production has dropped                      and recruitment rates and western Canada
dramatically. Continuing poor production has              geese seem to enjoy fairly high and consistent
not only resulted in a population decline, but has        recruitment coupled with moderate survival
also lead to an unfavorable age structure in the          leading to steady population growth.
dusky goose population. A population model
developed by the Alaska Department of Fish                                              Western Canada Geese
and Game (unpublished data) suggests that                                               Active nest survey: WV-LCR
nearly 60% of the population likely exceeded 7                         600
years of age in 1990.

Beginning in the late 1970's, the number of                            400

Taverner’s Canada geese wintering in the                  nest index
WV-LCR increased from 2,000 to more than
60,000 (Simpson and Jarvis 1979, Jarvis and                            200

Cornely 1988). This increase occurred despite                          100
the liberal goose hunting season. Reasons for
this increase are unknown. During this period,                            1984   1986     1988   1990          1992   1994   1996   1998
wintering Taverner's geese exploited new                                                                Year

refuges in the northwest region and gradually             Figure 3. Lower Columbia River western
remained north of their traditional California            Canada goose active nest survey, 1985 - 1997.
wintering areas.
                                                          The smallest of Canada geese, the cackling
The Taverner's Canada goose nests in a broad              Canada goose, like the dusky, also experienced
belt of tundra bordering the western and                  a sharp decline throughout the Pacific Flyway
northwestern coast of Alaska (Johnson et al.              during the late-1970's and early 1980's. The
1979). Primary nesting areas include Bristol              "cackler" nests in a narrow fringe along the
Bay, the outer Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K                 western coast of Alaska, between the Yukon
Delta), Seward Peninsula, Kotzebue                        and Kuskokwim Rivers and has traditionally
Sound/Selawik Lowlands, Upper Noatak River                wintered in the Central Valley of California with a
and several disjunct areas of the Alaskan North           few wintering in Oregon. Numbers dropped from
Slope. Unlike the dusky, the Taverner's nests             an estimated 400,000 in the late 1960's, to fewer
are widely dispersed so that it is difficult to           than 25,000 in the mid-1980's. The decline is
monitor nesting success and production.                   believed to be largely due to sport harvest in
Because of its widely dispersed nesting pattern,          California and subsistence harvest on the Y-K
this bird is not subject to significant subsistence       Delta in Alaska (Raveling 1984). The hunting
harvest or concentrated predation. It is a wary           season for this subspecies was closed
bird and difficult for hunters to harvest.                beginning in 1984. While recreational harvests
                                                          were being reduced through various restrictive
Along with the buildup of the Taverner's                  measures, efforts were also underway to reduce
population, numbers of the resident western               subsistence hunting taking place on the Y-K
Canada goose also increased steadily during               Delta. In 1984, the Y-K Delta Goose
the 1970's and 1980's, with significant increases         Management Plan was cooperatively developed

and implemented by management agencies
and user groups throughout the flyway to                                           The Vancouver Canada goose is a large dark
enhance protection of cacklers, brant,                                             colored bird that closely resembles the dusky in
white-fronted geese and emperor geese and                                          appearance. The Vancouver nests along the
restore these populations (Pamplin 1986).                                          forested coastline of southeastern Alaska and
Substantial moderation of spring harvest of both                                   British Columbia (Lebeda and Ratti 1983). This
eggs and geese and increased protection during                                     bird is believed to be relatively non-migratory,
fall and winter were accomplished as a result of                                   with only a small percentage of the population
this plan, further protecting the cackler                                          wintering in Washington and Oregon (Hansen
population.                                                                        1962, Ratti and Timm 1979).

In 1993, the cackler fall flight was estimated at                                  Aleutian Canada geese, a federally designated
164,000 birds (Fig. 4), which allowed the                                          threatened species number about 20,000. This
population to reach the minimum flyway harvest                                     subspecies nests on the Aleutian Islands of
objective of 110,000. In recent years the cackler                                  Alaska and primarily winters in the San Joaquin
population has continued to increase at a rapid                                    Valley of California. A small group of Aleutian's
rate, warranting a reopening of the cackler                                        from the Semidi Islands winters along the
season, beginning in 1994. Along with the                                          Oregon coast. A few individuals associated with
current buildup, there is a significant increase in                                the wintering areas in California have been
the proportion of birds wintering in the WV-LCR                                    observed in the WV-LCR. As this population
with a proportional decrease in California (R. E.                                  increases, there is potential for this subspecies
Trost pers. commun.).                                                              to increase in the WV-LCR region.

                                                                                   In summary, the midwinter Canada goose
                                      Fall Cackling Canada Goose                   population index in the WV-LCR increased from
                                          Population Indicies                      around 40,000 to over 130,000 in the past 20
                                                                                   years (Fig. 5).

                                150                                                      Trends in Canada Goose Populations
 Population Index

                                                                                         Willamette Valley - Lower Columbia River
                                                                                   Average MWS Index

                                                                                                                   125               Oregon

                                 0                                                                                  75
                                 1975    1980   1985      1990   1995   2000
        Figure 4. Cackling Canada goose fall population                                                              0
        index, 1979 - 1995.                                                                                              61-65           71-75      81-85       91-95
                                                                                                                                 66-70        76-80       86-90      96-97
The wintering goose flock also includes smaller                                                                                                  Years
numbers of lesser and Vancouver Canada
geese. Lesser Canada geese are similar in size                                                         Figure 5. Northwest Oregon and southwest
and coloration to the Taverner's. The lesser                                                           Washington Canada goose 5 year midwinter index,
nests from interior Alaska eastward into the                                                           1961 - 1997.
Yukon Territory in a widely dispersed pattern
and is not significantly affected by subsistence
harvest or predation (Johnson et al. 1979, King                                    Restrictive harvest regulations are believed to
and Hodges 1979). Some lesser Canada geese                                         have contributed to the increase in the total
wintering in the WV-LCR originate from an                                          number of Canada geese wintering in the
urban goose population now numbering 5,000                                         WV-LCR, both through increased survival and
birds in Anchorage, Alaska.                                                        lowered disturbance. Major shifts in the

wintering distribution of two subspecies,                lands, and (5) Pacific Flyway population
Taverner’s in the 1970's and cacklers in the             objectives.
1990's have resulted in greatly increased
numbers of Canada geese wintering in the                 Goal: To limit the number of Canada geese
region. This increase in total numbers of                wintering in the WV-LCR in order to minimize
Canada geese has resulted in an increase in              agricultural depredations on private lands.
agricultural depredations and, correspondingly,
landowner tolerance for geese on private lands           Objective 1: To limit the number of Canada
has diminished.                                          geese wintering in the WV-LCR to no more than
                                                         133,000 (95-97 average midwinter population
                                                         index) and reduce the number of wintering
                                                         Canada geese by 20% to 107,000 (as measured
                                                         by the midwinter index) by the year 2002. This
         DEPREDATION PLAN                                plan recognizes that the actual number of
                                                         Canada geese present in the region is greater
                                                         than the index, however, this number is the only
Reduction of agricultural losses caused by               long-term, consistent measure of the population
depredating Canada geese is the primary                  available and is therefor used for comparative
goal of this plan. The following primary                 purposes. The actual number of Canada geese
objectives of the plan describe how this will            is likely 2-3 times this number and the goal is to
be accomplished while maintaining and/or                 stabilize and then reduce both the index and the
enhancing goose populations Flyway wide.                 actual number by 20%.
Each primary objective, although presented
separately, should be considered as an                   Strategy: The initial focus of reduction efforts
integrated approach to Canada goose                      should be to increase harvest pressure on
management in the region. The approach                   Canada geese through alterations to existing
will be to utilize all the management tools              hunting seasons as proposed in this plan within
available in concert and complimentary with              Flyway management guidelines.
one another to achieve the primary goal of
the plan.                                                Rationale: This goal establishes a population
                                                         limit of no further increase in the total number of
                                                         Canada geese wintering in the WV-LCR area
  Primary Objective 1. WINTERING                         beyond the average number counted during the
                                                         last 3 years (1995-97). Wintering Canada goose
                                                         numbers are derived from the midwinter survey
          WV-LCR REGION                                  index. The midwinter index is the only long-term
                                                         survey of Canada goose populations in the
                                                         WV-LCR. This plan recognizes that the
The establishment of a total Canada goose                midwinter index does not provide a total
population management objective has been                 population estimate but rather a consistent
identified by the 1997 depredation working               long-term index to changes in population size.
group as an essential component of this plan.            Current evidence suggests that the index value
                                                         is less than the actual number of Canada geese
The primary method of population management              present.
for wintering Canada geese in the WV-LCR is
harvest regulation. Concurrent with harvest              Sport harvest will be given first consideration but
regulation is the need for accurate population           other lethal means will be considered if harvest
monitoring and assessment. Objectives for the            efforts are deemed ineffective at reducing total
wintering goose population in the WV-LCR must            wintering Canada goose numbers. Other lethal
be consistent with: (1) recent population levels         means will be used on a limited basis to
and trends, (2) the capacity of public and private       enhance the effectiveness of management tools
lands to support goose populations without               outlined in this plan. Also, since cackling
adverse impacts, (3) objectives for hunting, (4)         Canada geese represent a significant portion of
landowner tolerance for goose use on private

the wintering population, methods to redistribute
cacklers back to wintering areas in California or
changing Flyway population objective must be              Primary Objective 2. POPULATION
evaluated. However, past efforts to redistribute          ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING
Canada geese in other parts of the country have
proven to be ineffective (Rusch et al. 1985).
                                                         Attaining and maintaining population goals and
Objective 2: Delist the Aleutian Canada goose.           habitat management programs depends on
                                                         accurate monitoring of population size (Hindman
Strategy: The directors of ODFW, WDFW,                   and Ferrigno 1990). During recent years,
ADFG and CDFG should facilitate discussions              waterfowl managers have attempted to work
with Regions 1&7 of the USFWS to gain support            with about 30 identifiable populations of geese
and finances to begin the delisting process.             in North America (Nelson and Bartonek 1990).
                                                         However, only a limited number of these
Rationale: This subspecies has recovered                 populations are surveyed regularly, some not at
rapidly in recent years and the federal                  all. Some goose populations are surveyed on
threatened status is no longer warranted. In             the breeding or wintering grounds or while in
1996, delisting was recommended by the                   transit between breeding and wintering grounds.
Aleutian Canada Goose Recovery Team and                  Appendix C details the types of surveys and
the Pacific Flyway Council. Although few                 banding programs conducted in the WV-LCR for
Aleutian Canada geese were encountered in the            Canada goose management purposes. The
WV-LCR area, options to deal with depredation            strategies listed under the population monitoring
issues will be increased, particularly with regard       objectives were derived from flyway
to harvest and depredation control activities, by        management plans described in Appendix B.
delisting this subspecies.                               These strategies pertain to population surveys
                                                         and collar reading programs of wintering geese
Objective 3: Increase awareness among                    and breeding population surveys of resident
Oregon and Washington landowners and                     Canada geese (western subspecies). These
Alaskan subsistence hunters concerning needs             efforts will assist in achieving other goals of this
of all user groups, with a primary focus on the          plan and assess achievement of limiting the
cackling Canada goose population management              number of wintering Canada geese in the
and programs.                                            WV-LCR.

Strategy: As soon as feasible (1997-98),                 Goal: Develop and employ monitoring
conduct a meeting between wildlife                       programs to accurately assess goose
management agency personnel, private                     populations, distribution and survival rates of
landowner representatives, hunting groups and            Canada geese on the breeding and wintering
native Alaskans to discuss cackling Canada               grounds.
goose management issues.
                                                         Objective 1: Develop survey techniques to
Rationale: Recent increases in the cackler               better assess the total wintering Canada goose
population and a winter distributional shift from        population on the wintering grounds (WV-LCR).
California to the WV-LCR has caused
agricultural depredation problems to increase.           Strategy: Continue the current midwinter
The cackler population is approaching the                survey (MWS).
proposed flyway management objective
(Appendix B) and is heavily utilized by native           Rationale: The current MWS provides an index
Alaskans on the Y-K Delta for subsistence                to the total wintering Canada goose population
purposes, thus efforts to control the wintering          in the WV-LCR. This survey is the only long-
population in the WV-LCR must be developed in            term index to Canada goose numbers and
concert with the needs of all user groups.               abundance throughout the area. To maintain
                                                         comparability for assessment of the

management program, it is essential to continue         From 1990 to 1994, several thousand western
the midwinter survey in its current form.               Canada geese were neck collared in the
                                                        WV-LCR to determine population size,
Strategy: Conduct additional aerial and ground          distribution and survival. Previously unknown
surveys October - April to acquire data on the          information regarding distribution patterns
total wintering Canada goose population and             (movement) was gathered from that effort. A
distribution of subspecies in the WV-LCR.               new neck collaring program should be evaluated
                                                        for this subspecies.
Rationale: Improved survey methodologies
developed specifically to estimate total Canada         Objective 3: Maintain and continue to refine
goose numbers and distribution throughout the           breeding ground surveys of dusky and cackling
area will assist managers in evaluating impacts         Canada geese.
of management actions and help to focus
management programs on those geographic                 Strategy: Continue the aerial transect surveys
areas with the highest goose densities and/or           on the Y-K Delta and CRD in Alaska to monitor
most depredation damage. The development of             populations of cackling and dusky Canada
a scientifically rigorous survey that employs           geese.
transect designs and variance estimation
techniques would provide a better estimate of           Rationale: These surveys provide population
the total wintering Canada goose population             specific information on these goose populations
(Martin et al. 1979) than is presently obtained         at a time when they are geographically
from the midwinter survey.                              separated and relatively sedentary on their
                                                        principle breeding grounds. Such surveys offer
Objective 2: Continue to use mark-resight               the best long term opportunity to accurately
surveys to determine population size,                   monitor these populations.
distribution and survival of Canada geese
wintering in the WV-LCR.                                Objective 4: Evaluate the development of
                                                        additional breeding ground surveys to monitor
Strategy: Periodically conduct banding and              population trends of Taverner’s and lesser
collar marking of dusky Canada geese on the             Canada geese.
CRD, cackling Canada geese on the Y-K delta,
western Canada geese in the WV-LCR and                  Strategy: Conduct experimental, fixed wing
lesser Canada geese in Anchorage and other              aerial transect surveys throughout the breeding
known breeding areas, where feasible.                   range of these subspecies to determine the
Continue observation effort in the WV-LCR.              feasibility of a periodic operational survey to
                                                        monitor populations.
Rationale: Use of mark-resight data has been
proven to be effective in providing reliable            Rationale: The large number of subspecies
information regarding effects of restrictive            wintering in the WV-LCR region makes
harvest regulation changes on survival and              monitoring individual subspecies through aerial
recovery rates for Canada geese (Hindman and            surveys a difficult, if not impossible, means of
Ferrigno 1990). Data from neck collaring                monitoring these populations. The development
provides timely and reliable information that can       of a comprehensive breeding population survey
be collected to reflect distribution outside the        program for all Canada goose populations would
hunting season or in areas where hunting is not         greatly facilitate population management.
allowed. To support indirect winter population
estimates, distribution studies and research
objectives outlined in the dusky, cackler and
Taverner's/lesser Canada goose management
plans, neck collaring programs should be
conducted on these four subspecies.

Sanctuaries on public lands that provide
                                                           foraging and roosting areas free from human
   Primary Objective 3. HABITAT                            disturbance are essential for successful Canada
  MANAGEMENT AND PUBLIC USE                                goose management and would help alleviate
                                                           depredation on private lands. Sanctuary area
                                                           benefits can be attained through a combination
Quality habitat for wintering geese is critical and        of spatial and temporal areas that are
more important than often realized. Winter is              maintained essentially or totally free from all
the time for geese to form pair bonds, recharge            human disturbance. Effects of disturbance from
body reserves in preparation for spring                    hunting, vehicle and foot traffic, viewing,
migrations and breeding and survive hunting                management or research activities can lead to
pressure and highly variable weather conditions            change in habitat use, behavior and food habits.
(Hartman 1995). On the wintering grounds                   Fredrickson and Drobney (1979) cited depletion
geese prepare for their next breeding season by            of energy reserves, delay of migration and
acquiring important reserves of lipids and                 pairing, and elimination of wintering traditions as
proteins necessary for migration to northern               possible consequences of disturbance.
breeding grounds and successful reproduction               Continued disturbance of wintering Canada
(Raveling 1979). If the birds do not acquire the           geese on public lands could potentially increase
necessary nutrients by the time they arrive on             agricultural depredation of surrounding private
the breeding grounds, their reproductive efforts           lands.
may be diminished.
                                                           Public access on Federal refuges and State
Winter food acquisition by Canada geese is a               wildlife areas varies greatly. The type and level
complex interaction of nutritional needs,                  of regulated public use is determined by the
resource availability, habitat quality and behavior        compatibility of that activity with the goals and
(Baldassarre and Bolen 1994). Habitat                      objectives of the individual refuge or wildlife
management for Canada geese requires                       area. Some of the major public use activities
providing three essential elements, food, water,           that occur on refuges and wildlife areas include
and sanctuary, to sustain geese from arrival in            hunting, fishing, bird watching, hiking,
fall (October) to departure in spring (late April).        photography, dog training, and environmental
Food, in the form of grasses (green forage),               research and education.
grains, and natural vegetation, should be
provided proximate to open water for successful            Public Lands - Federal and State
habitat management. Canada geese prefer to
graze on short (< 4 inches) grasses. Also                  Ten Federal National Wildlife Refuges (NWR)
known as green forage, various types of grasses            (Willapa, Ankeny, Baskett Slough, Julia B.
and grass-legume mixes comprise the majority               Hansen, Lewis and Clark, Ridgefield,
of the diet of geese in the WV-LCR.                        Steigerwald Lake, Tualatin River, Wapato Lake
                                                           and William L. Finley), three state of Oregon
Wildlife refuges and wildlife areas are vitally            (E.E. Wilson, Fern Ridge and Sauvie Island) and
important wintering areas for Canada geese.                two state of Washington (Shillapoo and
These areas provide considerable goose food                Vancouver Lake) wildlife areas lie within the
resources and human activity (disturbance) is              WV-LCR Region of NW Oregon and SW
usually regulated. Goose habitat management                Washington. Existing habitat management and
efforts are geared to maximize (dependent upon             public use programs are mandated by
personnel and funding) food production.                    established policies and/or approved
Practices include creating, enhancing or                   management plans.
restoring wetlands to provide natural (moist soil)
vegetation, planting and flooding of managed               Federal Lands
areas, and providing agricultural crops and
pastures. In addition, portions of these areas             The USFWS administers approximately 60,000
provide sanctuary from human disturbance.                  acres within the goose depredation area;
                                                           however, not all of this area is capable of

providing habitat suitable for Canada goose               along county, state or federal main roads, but
management. The USFWS provides agricultural               are instructed to stay in their vehicles except at
habitats on some of the refuges through                   designated viewing areas. The refuges were
cooperative farming agreements with local                 open to public waterfowl hunting until 1985 at
landowners.                                               which time they were closed due to the low
                                                          midwinter index of duskys and the disturbance
Western Oregon NWR Complex (Ankeny,                       that resulted from hunting. Refuge staff and
Baskett Slough, Tualatin River, Wapato Lake               farming activities are also minimized during the
and William L. Finley)                                    winter to reduce disturbance to geese. Visitors
                                                          are allowed access throughout the refuges
Ankeny, Baskett Slough and William L. Finley              during the summer months.
NWR’s were initially established in the mid-
1960's to provide wintering habitat for the dusky         Established in 1992, the Tualatin River and
Canada goose. Ankeny NWR is located near                  Wapato Lake NWR’s are located in the north
the town of Jefferson, Baskett Slough NWR is              end of the Willamette Valley and currently total
located near the town of Dallas and the William           913 acres with an approved future boundary of
L. Finley NWR is located near Corvallis. These            3,166 acres. Although small in size and largely
three Willamette Valley refuges encompass                 undeveloped for refuge purposes, these two
approximately 10,613 acres, of which over 5,000           refuges could provide significant wintering
acres are farmed to provide winter feed for               goose habitat in future years. All public access
geese (Appendix C).                                       on Tualatin River and Wapato Lake NWR’s is
                                                          prohibited at this time.
Under the cooperative farming program on
Ankeny, Baskett Slough and Finley NWRs,                   Ridgefield NWR Complex (Ridgefield and
farmers plant grass, pasture and grains and               Steigerwald Lake)
then harvest all of the grass seed. All of the
forage provided by these crops is available to            Ridgefield NWR is located 20 miles north of
wintering waterfowl during the fall-spring period.        Portland along the Columbia River near the
The farmers harvest grass seed and hay from               town of Ridgefield in SW Washington. This
these areas during the summer, after the geese            5,149 acre refuge was established in 1965 to
have migrated north to their breeding grounds.            provide a wintering area for migratory waterfowl,
Cooperative farming agreements on other                   especially dusky Canada geese. Farming on
NWR’s vary, but generally allow the farmer to             the refuge is through a cooperative farming
remove a significant portion (75%) of the crop            program and limited cattle grazing occurs on the
while leaving a small portion (25%) of the                area. Steigerwald Lake NWR is located along
harvest behind for foraging geese. The three              the Columbia River in eastern Clark County near
main crops planted on the NWR’s are annual                the town of Washougal. This 900 acre area was
ryegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fescue. In              initially established in 1984 to serve as a
recent years, these refuges have also been                wintering waterfowl area and provides
developing several hundred acres of moist soil            approximately 150 acres of goose foraging
units which have also been heavily used by                habitat. No farming program exists for this
geese.                                                    refuge.

Wildlife observation, photography, hiking,                Major public use activities on Ridgefield NWR
hunting, interpretation and environmental                 include waterfowl hunting, wildlife observation
education are the major public use activities on          and photography and environmental education.
the refuges. Large portions of Ankeny, Baskett            Public entry onto the refuge varies by
Slough and Finley NWR’s are closed to public              management units (River S, Roth, Bachelor and
access when the geese arrive in the fall and              Bridgeport Dairy). Portions of the River S unit
remain closed until geese migrate out of the              are closed to all public use from October 1 -
area in the spring. This closure includes all             April 15. The remaining portion is open to
wetlands and green forage areas utilized by               hunting only on waterfowl hunt days. The
geese. The public can drive through the refuges           Bridgeport Dairy and Bachelor units are closed

year-round to all public use, with the exception            approximately 4,359 acres are currently
of vehicle use along the lower River Road.                  available for goose food production. Most of the
Public use on Steigerwald Lake NWR is                       farming is conducted by ODFW personnel, with
prohibited except for group tours conducted by              some limited sharecropping occurring.
refuge staff.
                                                            With the location so close to the Portland
Lower Columbia River NWR’s                                  metropolitan area, the Sauvie Island Wildlife
                                                            Area is very popular with the public for outdoor
The Julia Butler Hansen and the Lewis and                   related activities. The most popular public use
Clark NWR’s are collectively known as the                   activities include swimming and beach activities
Lower Columbia River NWR’s for purposes of                  and fishing which together account for 65% of all
this plan. The Julia Butler Hansen NWR is                   recreational use. Public access restrictions vary
located near the town of Cathlamet,                         among management units, but generally call for
Washington, and encompasses approximately                   areas to be closed to public access (except for
5,516 acres. This refuge was established in                 designated hunting seasons) from October 1
1972 for the protection of the endangered                   through February 1(Stillman Lake and Oak
Columbia white-tailed deer. The 38,214 acre                 Island), March 15 (Seal Lake and Mud Lake
Lewis and Clark NWR was established in 1972                 Units) and April 15 (Eastside and Crane Units
for the purpose of providing habitat for migratory          and Sturgeon Lake). The Columbia River
birds, primarily waterfowl. Currently, the farming          beaches and the North Unit are open
and grazing programs on the two refuges are                 year-round. Public hunting (waterfowl, upland
geared towards providing green forage for                   bird, deer and dove) is a traditional use on the
white-tailed deer and wintering waterfowl.                  wildlife area and is an objective for the area.

The Julia B. Hansen NWR is open daily on a                  Fern Ridge Wildlife Area
year-round basis, from dawn to dusk. Public
entry on the mainland unit is limited to foot travel        Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is located 7 miles west
on the Center Road. Public entry on                         of Eugene adjacent to the Fern Ridge Reservoir.
Tenasillahe Island is limited to foot traffic on the        This 5,103 acre area was established in 1957
dike. These restrictions are in place to protect            and has approximately 150 acres of cropland
the endangered Columbia white-tailed deer from              that are annually planted and 450 acres of moist
disturbance. Major public use activities include            soil impoundments are actively managed for
wildlife observation, hiking, hunting, sport fishing        waterfowl forage by ODFW personnel. Area
and environmental education.                                lands are leased by ODFW from the U.S. Army
                                                            Corps of Engineers for the purpose of wildlife
The numerous islands of the Lewis and Clark                 management.
NWR are accessible only by boat. As a result,
the major winter public use activity is waterfowl           The majority (85%) of the Fern Ridge project
hunting. But fishing and boating activity can               land and water areas is open to public access
increase in March. All lands are open to                    year-round. Seasonal restrictions (Nov. 1 -
waterfowl hunting except all dikes, all exposed             March 30) to public access on the Fisher Butte,
lands on Miller Sands and its partially enclosed            East Coyote and West Coyote Units are in place
lagoon and the diked portion of Karlson Island.             to protect wintering waterfowl. Major public use
The refuge is open to day use only.                         activities include hunting, fishing and boating
                                                            related activities. Waterfowl, upland game birds,
State Lands:                                                dove and deer hunting occur on the wildlife
Oregon: Sauvie Island Wildlife Area                         area.

Established in 1948 as a wintering waterfowl                E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area
area, the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area is located
at the confluence of the Columbia and                       E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area was acquired from the
Willamette Rivers. This 12,000 acre area is                 U.S. Army in 1948, after the Camp Adair Military
located 10 miles from downtown Portland and                 Reservation was closed. This 1,683 acre area

has primarily served as a pheasant propagation           metropolitan area. The areas are open to
facility, however, beginning in 1997, the                public access on a year-round basis and major
propagation program was targeted for closure             activities include upland game bird and
due to budget cuts by ODFW. E.E. Wilson                  waterfowl hunting, bird watching, mushroom and
Wildlife Area contains numerous fallow                   fruit picking. Non-wildlife oriented recreation is
grassland fields that could potentially be farmed        centered primarily around Vancouver Lake and
for goose forage. This farming would be                  the adjacent county park.
contingent on either an increase in operating
dollars for the wildlife area, or developing             Habitat Management and Public Use -
cooperative farming agreements with local                Objectives and Strategies
farmers. In an effort to provide goose forage in
the mid-Willamette Valley, wildlife area staff           The following goals, objectives and strategies
planted 30 acres of goose forage in 1996.                were developed by state/federal land managers
However, to date no wintering Canada goose               in an attempt to bolster wintering Canada goose
use has been recorded (Dave Budeau pers.                 numbers on public lands and to assist with other
commun.). In addition, since 1993                        management aspects of this plan.
approximately 170 acres of seasonal wetlands
have been restored on the area.                          Federal and State Lands
                                                         Habitat Management
The E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area is open to public
access on a year-round basis, except for several         Objective 1: To increase the amount of Canada
small designated areas. Major public use                 goose use on public lands, while subsequently
activities include viewing of upland game bird           decreasing the amount of Canada goose
display pens, bird watching, hunting, fishing and        occurrence on private lands.
hiking. Hunting for waterfowl, upland birds,
rabbits and doves occurs on the area from                Strategy: Reduce time period of pheasant hunts
September 1 through February 28, with upland             to reduce disturbance of geese using these
bird hunting constituting a majority (60%) of the        areas during late winter and spring.
hunter visits.
                                                         Strategy: Restrict public access for all purposes
Washington: Shillapoo and Vancouver Lake                 during late winter and early spring.
Wildlife Areas
                                                         Rationale: Disturbance on public lands may
Shillapoo and Vancouver Lake Wildlife Areas              contribute to agricultural crop depredation
are located in Clark County in southwest                 problems by displacing geese from public to
Washington. This 1,549 acre area extends                 private lands. To the extent possible, it is
along the Columbia River floodplain from the city        recommended that such disturbance be reduced
of Vancouver to the mouth of the Lewis River.            or eliminated beginning with the end of the duck
Initial parcels of these wildlife areas were             hunting framework (Sunday closest to 20
purchased in 1952 (Shillapoo) and 1960                   January) and continuing through 15 April to
(Vancouver Lake). WDFW has recently been                 enhance public lands for attracting and holding
expanding these areas through an extensive               geese.
acquisition program in the Vancouver Lowlands
in cooperation with Bonneville Power                     Objective 2: Review habitat management
Administration (BPA) and the Washington                  programs on refuges and wildlife areas to
Wildlife and Recreation Program. Approximately           develop programs to increase and improve
880 acres of food crops and green forage are             goose forage.
provided for wintering waterfowl through
sharecropping agreements with local farmers.             Strategy: Conduct an annual meeting with
                                                         landowners to discuss management of public
Like the Sauvie Wildlife Area, the Shillapoo and         lands with a focus on Canada geese.
Vancouver Lake Wildlife Areas are very popular
due to their proximity to the Portland

Rationale: Investigation and development of              Strategy: Review all public use programs on all
alternative farming techniques is vital to               NWRs and wildlife areas to reduce disturbance
maximizing goose food production on public               and increase goose utilization.
lands. Current farming programs successfully
provide quality forage for wintering geese;              Rationale: A number of studies have shown that
however, the quality and quantity of forage may          human disturbance can be an important factor
be increased by implementing alternative                 affecting goose feeding distribution (Owen 1972,
farming strategies or altering existing habitats         Madsen 1985, Percival 1993). Recurrent
that are deemed unproductive for wintering               disturbance of goose foraging and sanctuary
goose forage. Bringing local farmers and refuge          areas on public lands could create agricultural
and wildlife area staffs together to discuss             depredation problems on surrounding private
farming practices on public lands to increase            lands. All current public use programs should be
goose use is an important task. In addition, this        reviewed to determine their compatibility with
meeting would provide the opportunity to                 providing wintering Canada goose sanctuary
discuss recent wetland restoration efforts on            and identify possible program modifications to
state and federal lands.                                 maximize goose use on each refuge.

Strategy: Review farming, livestock grazing              Federal Lands
and wetland management programs on all                   Western Oregon NWR Complex
NWR’s and wildlife areas to provide increased            Habitat Management
goose use, with a goal of increasing use by
dusky Canada geese.                                      Strategy: Continue wetland restoration
                                                         programs in conjunction with established forage
Rationale: Farming, grazing and wetland                  areas. Recent wetland restoration efforts have
restoration/enhancement efforts will be reviewed         increased goose utilization of refuges and
to determine their compatibility with providing          priority should continue to be placed on
wintering Canada goose habitat and to identify           converting areas of low goose use to wetlands.
possible program modifications to maximize
goose use on each refuge.                                Rationale: Since 1992-93, USFWS refuge staff
                                                         has closely evaluated goose utilization of
Public Use                                               individual crop fields and wetlands. Croplands
                                                         which have produced unacceptable results, both
Objective: Decrease disturbance to wintering             in regards to yields and low utilization by geese,
Canada geese and increase goose use of public            have been converted to other uses. Some fields
lands by implementing public use restrictions.           that received little goose use were converted to
                                                         moist soil wetlands, where millet, smartweed
Strategy: Increase public education efforts              and other natural plants were encouraged.
concerning Canada goose management in the                These changes were made with the overall
WV-LCR.                                                  objective to increase goose use of these areas.
                                                         Preliminary results indicate that goose use has
Rationale: Management problems including                 greatly increased in these areas. Fields that
agricultural depredation associated with                 received little use before wetland conversions
wintering Canada geese in the WV-LCR are little          are now the most highly used areas on the
known outside the farming and scientific                 refuges. Additional wetland restoration efforts
communities. An increased education effort               are planned to further increase goose use on
directed toward visitors to refuges and wildlife         the Willamette Valley refuges.
areas is recommended. Updated information
kiosks and literature detailing goose                    Strategy: Increase capability to manage
management including agricultural depredation            wetlands and croplands with enhanced water
problems in the WV-LCR and the role of refuges           supplies.
and wildlife areas are proposed.
                                                         Rationale: Additional refuge water supplies
                                                         could enhance both wetland and cropland

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